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Celebrity NFL picks: Compared to ‘03 victory over Bucs, Colts’ comeback against Texans pretty ordinary

Sal DeFilippo

Celebrity Picks

Lance Burton, Monte Carlo master magician (6-9)
Jets –6 vs. Bengals
Falcons +2 1/2 at Bears>
Giants -8 at Browns
****
Anthony Crivello, star of "Phantom - Las Vegas Spectacular" (11-4)
Lions +13 ½ at Vikings
Dolphins +3 at Texans
Packers-Seahawks under 46 1/2
****
Carrot Top, Luxor headliner (7-7-1)
Jets –6 vs. Bengals
Vikings –13 vs. Lions
Giants -8 at Browns
****
Danny Gans, Mirage headliner (5-10)
Jets –6 vs. Bengals
Saints –7 ½ vs. Raiders
Giants -8 at Browns
****
Oscar Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas (7-8)
Jets –6 vs. Bengals
Bears –2 ½ at Falcons
Patriots +6 at Chargers
****
Kevin Janison, KVBC meteorologist (9-6)
Bengals +6 at Jets
Vikings –13 vs. Lions
Broncos-Jaguars under 48
****
Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas" (8-7)
Ravens +4 ½ at Colts
49ers +5 vs. Eagles
Chargers -7 vs. Patriots

As I watched the Indianapolis Colts’ fourth-quarter rally against the Houston Texans on Sunday, I couldn’t help but think I had seen this before.

The Colts had fallen behind by 17 points with about five minutes remaining, and appeared headed for defeat at the hands of the winless Texans. But a touchdown pass by Peyton Manning, a key 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown, and another Manning TD pass in the final minute – set up by another fumble recovery – capped a stunning 31-27 win.

It was the kind of furious comeback that you usually see a team pull off only once in a generation. Three touchdowns in the final minutes? That’s crazy. So why did I have this feeling of déjà vu?

Because I had seen it before. Almost five years to the day, in fact.

It was on Monday Night Football -- October 6, 2003. The Colts were trailing Tampa Bay 35-14 with five minutes in regulation, a seemingly insurmountable deficit, even for the explosive offense of the then-unbeaten Colts. Manning had just thrown an interception that was returned for a touchdown by the Buccaneers’ Ronde Barber, the kind of play that generally seals a victory.

But a 90-yard kickoff return lead to a short James Mungro touchdown run with 3:43 remaining, and after the Colts recovered an onside kick, Manning capped a 58-yard drive with a 28-yard pass to Marvin Harrison to cut the deficit to one score with 2:38 left.

The Colts tried another onside kick, but this time, the Buccaneers recovered. Tampa Bay couldn’t run out the clock, though, and the Colts wisely used their timeouts on defense, forced a punt, and took possession at their 15-yard line with 1:41 left. A key 52-yard pass to Harrison led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Ricky Williams (not the Dolphins’ running back – this Ricky Williams played for only two seasons and had his only two career rushing touchdowns in this game). Indianapolis completed the improbable comeback with a Mike Vanderjagt field goal in overtime.

By comparison, last week’s rally was actually less dramatic – but don’t tell that to the Colts, who had lost on a last-second kick in their previous game and were in danger of falling to 1-3 before their huge turnaround. It was Indianapolis’ second double-digit rally this season – the Colts trailed Minnesota 15-0 with less than two minutes to go in the third quarter before staging a rally to win 18-15 on a last-second field goal.

Speaking of rallies, the Titans’ late rally to beat Baltimore – and create a push against the spread – deflated an otherwise perfect 2-0-1 week against the spread, moving my season mark to 8-6-1. This week, I’ll take the Cowboys-Cardinals over 50, the Dolphins +3 at the Texans, and the Saints -7 ½ vs. the Raiders.

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